Mental Health Evaluators: Further Study Needed to Determine if Leon Allen Smith is Avoiding Legal Prosecution

According to mental health evaluators, Leon Allen Smith is uncooperative, antagonistic, defensive and argumentative. But his behaviors are organized and goal oriented. He interacts with select peers, communicates his needs, plays video games and carries out daily living normally.

Based on these factors, evaluators believe Smith may be intentionally trying to avoid criminal proceedings. Further mental health observation has been ordered to determine whether this is the case, or if Smith is in fact mentally ill as he claims.

Smith, 29, has been held on a charge of second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of 45-year-old Stephan Manuel Pool. Smith’s preliminary hearing has been postponed pending a determination on his mental health examination.

According to Pool’s family members, on September 2, 2012, Pool and his girlfriend were driving a friend to see Smith. When they arrived at the apartment in the 200 block of N Street Southwest, Smith stabbed Pool in the chest.

Charging documents in the case say that Pool hugged a witness outside of his vehicle after he dropped her off in the 200 block of N Street SW that Sunday; then Smith walked up to Pool and said, “Oh, you trying to talk to my girlfriend, huh?”

The witness told police that Smith punched Pool one time in the chest with a closed fist. After the punch, the witness saw Smith holding a silver knife with a blue handle. Police found the knife in a location pointed out by the witness, who said she heard Smith drop it while walking away. Smith was arrested that same day.

In May, Smith was ordered to undergo a competency screening and he told evaluators that he hears “whispers and voices laughing and talking.” A mental health examination was ordered as a result.

The mental health examination report written June 19 by Pius Ojevwe, a Clinical Psychologist, states:

It is important to note that during the course of his present hospitalization, Mr. Smith has been largely uncooperative with nearly all aspects of his treatment with the exception of his psychotropic medications. According to Mr. Smith’s treatment team, including his treating psychiatrist, clinical administrator, social worker, and registered nurse, coupled with a review of available medical records, since his current admission Mr. Smith has been largely evasive, mistrustful, dismissive, and uncooperative with clinical assessments. He sometimes complains of bizarre experiences such as auditory hallucinations, “paranoia,” and intrusive nightmares, which he attributes to his early childhood disruptions/trauma. However, the treatment team staff has not observed any significant behavioral indications consistent with his reported symptoms.

The report goes on to say Smith’s,

maladaptive behaviors are believed by his treatment team to be willful, intentional, and characterologically based, rather than symptoms of an Axis I syndrome, such as a psychotic or major mood disorder.

The report concludes:

Based on available data, Mr. Smith’s lack of cooperation with the present evaluation and less than optimal compliance with other attempts to evaluate him appear to be intentional and this may be a willful attempt to avoid legal prosecution. Although he has been compliant with his prescribed psychotropic medications, he has continually reported no positive benefits and has refused to consider any adjustment to his treatment regimen.

Ojevwe said in the report that because of Smith’s lack of cooperation it was not possible to assess his understanding of criminal proceedings and an opinion regarding his competency to stand trial could not be made.

At the hearing Thursday, Madalyn Harvey, Smith’s defense attorney, asked Judge John Ramsey Johnson for another 30 days to complete the examination. A hearing to discuss the findings of that report is scheduled for August 2.

The full report is below.

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